The Wall Street Protesters are Winning Me Over

They distanced me at first. I didn’t like some of the signs about Obama. I’ve had my disappointments with Obama, but I still cut him slack due to the enormity, complexity and number of problems he inherited. He’s come through on many of the promises that are important to me, and I want to give him more time to come through on others.

Those signs have largely disappeared, but here is what really won me over: I went to a Tea Party demonstration last year and walked among the protesters. It was a seething mass of hate. In fact, while I was there the crowd regularly threatened anyone they didn’t like the looks of. It was horrible and ugly.

The people at Occupy Wall Street are respectful, friendly and helpful. They have all these stations set up where you can learn about the various issues they’re concerned with. Nobody’s yelling at you, or giving you the once over to decide if they like you or not. They’re not screaming about who is American and who is not. They’re politely asking if you’d like to learn more about x, y or z. This is my kind of protest. Providing information. It also had this wonderful hopeful feel. We can fix these problems. If these were my children I’d be very proud. Actually, I shouldn’t talk like it was all young people, it wasn’t.

(Not that I’m calling you old, mom in this picture. You are NOT.)

Occupy Wall Street Demonstrator

Stacy Horn

I've written six non-fiction books, the most recent is Damnation Island: Poor, Sick, Mad, and Criminal in 19th-Century New York.

View all posts by Stacy Horn →

7 thoughts on “The Wall Street Protesters are Winning Me Over

  1. I had thought about asking you if you had seen any of the Wall Street protestors right after it all began. But I didn’t because wasn’t sure about their message.

    Thanks for this post — it says a LOT about the current protestors and the scary Tea Party gun-toting haters.

  2. Cara, I don’t hate you or anyone else.

    We do sometimes carry a gun if we are in a bad neighborhood at night, or on long road trips when you could have a breakdown and you know, who knows what could happen…?

    You make those on the right sound like a bunch of illiterate hillbillies, and I’m afraid I might qualify. I keep telling my wife that no man can really call himself civilized who has not read the entirety of Remembrance of Things Past by Marcel Proust. And I never seem to be able to get more than halfway through Swann’s Way. So hand me my Beechnut.

    One of the things I have realized is that one needs to be very cautious about forming their views around the activities of political activists. Whether those activists are marching somewhere or are on the Internet.

    The thing that keeps me sane is always thinking about the Democrats and Republicans who are personal friends. They are not the demons I see portrayed. They don’t go on marches, and they don’t make comments on inflammatory web sites.

    I would say the factor that characterizes my friends is that politics is not everything. They pretty much feel that if you are spending all of your time on politics you are kind of missing the point. Sometimes there are some disagreements, but everyone always slaps each other on the back at the end of the conversation.

    Activists are always very inflamed by their political observations, but most of us are jut regular people with a point of view.

  3. I was waiting to know your idea about these people, too. I also felt they are my kind of people but at the same time, am wondering where their activities will lead people.

    You’ve filled me a lot and thanks.

  4. Thanks for the first-hand report. I hope something good will come out of it. Any talk about how long the protest might last? Any rumblings about NYC authorities getting impatient & breaking up the protest? I suppose the cold & snow could eventually convince some of the people to head home.

  5. Yes, thanks for the update. I can only hope that these protests remain peaceful. The message about the inequities of our country are broad-based and are finally sinking in. We will be able to better gage the depth of this movement on Sat., October 15, 2011. Other cities are planning marches on that date. I’m proud to support the Occupy Chicago group as I believe they represent a possible path towards a more democratic and sustainable America.

  6. Greg, I think Cara was referring to the people who famously brought guns to tea party protest and to Obama speeches. That was pretty ugly.

    The New York authorities have expressed a tiny bit of impatience, but they say they cannot kick them out of Zuccotti Park, that it’s a private not public park and only the people leasing that space can kick them out.

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